Hello my wonderful new yogi friends, as you can guess from the title, this blog post will be discussing how yoga can help with your mental health!
My name is Anna and I am the newest contributor for this wonderful YogaHub blog. My posts will range from Asanas to Yoga Philosophy to Spirituality, as these are what I am deeply interested in at the moment.
This week though I want to talk about how yoga can help with mental health. And next week I will discuss which poses can help. I thought that my first post should be something that I can really relate to and also because last week was International Mental Health week.
I struggled with depression and anxiety for what felt like forever. Both of which I have wrote blog posts about on my personal blog. I was suffering with depression and anxiety for over a year before I found the courage to visit a doctor. That was when I was diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety. I already had a strong meditation practice but then I found yoga and it was one of the biggest drivers in my healing process and it changed my life.
Depression and mental health problems are one of those things where people avoid talking about in fear they will be seen as weak. But I am stronger than ever because I have beaten it and because I am so open talking about it. People living with depression are some of the strongest people going.
If you have depression please don’t suffer in silence, there is someone out there who loves and cares for you and will be there to help you if you just ask.
When I found yoga it changed my life. It helped with my mental health problems massively. We all know about the physical benefits to yoga but for me and many of my yogi friends the mental benefits can sometimes outweigh the physicals.
It is absolutely incredible that there is a growing body of research to back up the mental health benefits of yoga. I’ve listed some of the benefits below, of course everyone is so different so you may feel many more benefits.
- Less Stress and less Anxiety
One study suggests that yoga and meditation can cut back on anxiety by almost 40 percent, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to reap these benefits. Asanas and breathwork have been calming jittery minds and smoothing the jagged spikes of stress for thousands of years.
- Helps with Depression
Research suggests that yoga and meditation improves depression symptoms (along with anxiety and pain). I am living proof that yoga helps relieve some of the pain and heartache felt from depression.
- Better Relationships
Yoga will absolutely help you maintain healthy relationships. When you’re more centered and more peaceful with yourself, you’ll be the same way with your partner.
- Helps with Insomnia
One of the key reasons for insomnia is our thoughts running through our mind which can result in anxiety, stress and depression. Yoga clears out the clutter in your mind, which can help you slip easily into sleep. Doing a few asanas and meditating in bed before you sleep removes the clutter and sets your mind for a more peaceful and deeper sleep.
- Increase Your Self-Awareness
Yoga and meditation, gives you clarity on your thoughts, your inner desires and increased self-awareness. The more you practice yoga, the more self-aware you become. You become more conscious of what you think, the way you think, what you feel and what you want.
- Increase Your Fulfillment of Life
The different benefits of yoga combine to give you an increased fulfillment of life. You become more positive and rejuvenated. Yoga practice and meditation, puts you in the position to get even more out of your day and everyday life.
- Increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid
Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. This is especially relevant to people who have anxiety disorders in which GABA activity is low.
- Calms your nervous system
It moves your flight-or-flight to rest-and-digest. You typically have less anxiety and enter a more relaxed state. As soon as you start breathing deeply, you slow down out of fight or flight and calm your nervous system.
If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to check out my own website where I post about wellness, travel, recipes and my own personal yoga journey. I am currently doing a monthly post about my yoga teacher training with YogaHub 😊
Have a wonderful day and rest of the week guys.
Lots of Love,
Anna B xo